Cycling is a cost-efficient, healthy and sustainable way to travel. Many New Yorkers commute to work by cycling through Manhattan, preferring it to expensive cab rides or stuffy subway journeys.
However, along with the benefits of cycling come some distinct risks. Cyclists are especially vulnerable on the congested roads of Manhattan. Heavy traffic means a heightened risk of getting struck by a vehicle.
Fortunately, cyclists can reduce their risk of becoming accident victims by following these simple tips.
1. Plan your route beforehand.
New York City abounds with bike paths and dedicated bike lanes, and some do traverse through Manhattan. Stick to these routes as much as possible. Additionally, by planning a route before you ride, you can avoid confusion or missed turns when you’re out cycling.
2. Wear the right gear.
Equip your bike with reflective gear so you’ll remain visible even in the momentary darkness of a tunnel or underpass. If you’ll be riding at dawn or dusk, add lights on your bike and your person. Dress for the weather, and always wear a helmet.
3. Follow all traffic rules.
It can be tempting to weave in and out of traffic and breeze through intersections. However, make sure you’re playing it safe when it comes to following the rules of the road. Always signal your turns so drivers know what to expect. Observe stoplights and right-of-ways when you come to intersections. Stay off the sidewalks and never ride against traffic on one-way streets.
4. Pay attention.
Stay attuned to your surroundings, especially when riding in traffic. Avoid wearing earbuds since they block out audible cues that can alert you to hazards. Never text or talk on your phone while cycling. If you must use your cellphone, pull over in a safe place to do so.
By following these tips — along with a good dose of common sense — you can keep cycling safe and enjoyable.